Breeders turn out for Waikato Stud Tour

There was a strong turnout of breeders at the Waikato Branch's annual two-day stallion parade last weekend and according to branch president Mark Devcich, overall it was a very successful weekend.

"It was a pretty good weekend all round, the weather played its part on the Saturday, we had a great turn out at our monthly awards dinner on Saturday evening and even though it was showery on Sunday, the numbers attending on that day were strong as well.

"I believe that the influx of new stallions on show on Sunday certainly helped to boost the numbers with Chequers Stud reporting three times as many people attending their parade to see Battle Paint compared with last year when they paraded just Deputy Governor.

"It was certainly on a par if not better than in previous years. We had broodmare owners from Australia, the Hawkes' Bay and the South Island visiting the farms and the stud masters have reported solid interest," he said.

On a fine sunny Saturday afternoon around 140 people viewed the stallions at Ancroft Stud, Mapperley Stud, Rich Hill Stud, Seaton Park, Stoneybridge and Waikato Stud on Saturday, and on a showery Sunday up to 200 visited Brighthill Farm, Cambridge Stud, Chequers, Dormello Stud, Highview Stud, Paxton Park, The Oaks, and Windsor Park Stud.

Rich Hill Farm was the last port of call on Saturday, where Pentire, Sir Percy and Any Suggestions were paraded along with a smattering of Any Suggestion's yearlings before the crowd adjourned to the office to watch the Mudgeway being run at Hawkes' Bay.

John Thompson reports that there was plenty of enthusiasm for the stallions.

"Pentire's book is full. He has made the transition to commercial stallion now and he has been fully booked for sometime, but we have good interest in Sir Percy, as he has developed into a lovely horse since he was here last time.

"We certainly took bookings on the day for him and Any Suggestion, and there have been a couple of phone calls since to secure bookings. As well a prominent Waikato breeder who missed the parade rocked up today to see Sir Percy as he had heard such good reports from the parade and he has booked a mare.

"Despite all the uncertainty out there it was a positive day all round," he said.

Brighthill Farm was the first port of call on Sunday morning, and Nick King also said that they had a great turn out.

"It was the biggest crowd we have witnessed and as the first stud on the tour they were all enthusiastic and were talking about bookings immediately after the parade. It certainly helped that we had a first season sire in Eagle Hawk," he added.

Lunch was served at The Oaks and Manager Rick Williams was pleased with the numbers that attended.

"I was pleasantly surprised, we had over 200 people here and we managed to parade the horses in between showers.

"We managed to secure a couple of bookings on the day which isn't normal and there have been some follow up bookings this week. Those with quality mares are committed to mating them but it would be fair to say that everyone is concerned about the state of the industry and the lack of leadership and that is definitely clouding their decision making.

"We are slightly ahead of our bookings compared to last year, but having said that, last year we had a real late surge in bookings, so I guess its not all doom and gloom."

It certainly won't be doom and gloom if you send a mare to Highview Stud with Brent Gillovic adopting some very interesting marketing tactics to secure bookings.

"I believe that there will be a shortage of horses if we don't keep the breeding numbers up, so I thought I should stimulate a bit of interest and get people talking and thinking. That's why I came up with these deals.

"How it works is if you send a mare to either Align or Danroad, you get a free service to either Kashani or our new Danehill Dancer horse South Dakota. That is in conjunction with our fillies deal, whereby owners of broodmares that patronise a Highview Stud stallion in 2010 and that mare subsequently foals a filly in 2011 will qualify for a 50 per cent rebate on the service fee paid in 2010. This rebate can be applied as a credit against any Highview stallion's advertised stud fee in 2011.

"But wait there's more - broodmare owners who book their mares to a Highview Stud stallion before September 10 will go into the draw to win a luxury prize package at the Select Le Grand Hotel in Hamilton.

"The prize will feature a scrumptious dinner for two at the hotel's new Finz seafood restaurant, a night's luxury accommodation as well as a breakfast for two at the boutique hotel.

"Hey, it's wet, it's dismal, and things look bad so I'm trying to stimulate everyone into thinking about breeding their mares. Over the weekend I probably sold four shares in Sufficient – he looked that good and I sold a few nominations to him and Kashani.

"Align and Danroad have been getting quite good bookings along the way and in the last two weeks I have probably sold a couple of dozen bookings.

"We were the last cab off the rank so by the time the tour reached here there was probably only about 80 to 90 dedicated people here and by the time they left I had them seriously thinking," he concluded.

The Auckland Branch will be hosting their parade this Sunday, commencing at Haunui Farm at 10.30 am. Buffalo Man and Sirocco will parade at the Karaka Sales Centre at 11.30. Te Runga Stud will parade their stallions at 12.15, and the parade will conclude at Westbury Stud where their parade will commence at 1.pm..

- Michelle Saba